Cape Malays…

and their Heritage

Self-Empowerment: Transvaal (1870)

Posted by tahirfarrath on February 16, 2010

(History of Muslims in South Africa)

Oral reports indicate that the first Muslims to arrive in Transvaal were the Malays from the Cape in 1870 after travelling by ox-wagon from Kimberley. Paul Kruger gave them land to settle in Ferreirastown, which was known as the Malay Camp. The majority originated from the Cape and Port Elizabeth. The Kerk Street Masjid is built on same place where they had pitched a tent for performing their daily prayers. Living conditions became intolerable and they lived here until 1900 when they were forced to move on to Vredersdorp (renamed Pageview in 1942). A Langaar was eventually erected at Burgersdorp. The Imaams were Imam Tayyib Japie from the Cape and Hajji Baasi Rasdien from Port Elizabeth. President Kruger then gave a piece of land for a Masjid and Madrasah. A Muslim burial site was granted at the Braamsfontein cemetry. During this period, Albertskroon was also given to the Malays.


The Malay community of Gauteng include Coloured converts to Islam, many Indian Muslims who for political (or economical) reasons preferred to be classified as Malay and a large section of Mauritian Muslims. These Muslims because of their poverty and dark skins had to asociate with Malays after being marginalised by the “other” Muslims communities. Malays of Gauteng as a minority group are not only being marganalised by the Muslim Indians, but also loosing their particular religious culture. They are facing the  problem of maintaining their Shaafi’i traditions versus the Hanafiy majority. Although the Malays were the first Muslims in the Transvaal, they are constantly referred to third class Muslims by these “other” Muslims. Today, their committment, achievements and sacrifices to Islam have been denied in Gauteng for nearly a centuary. Futhermore, it remains a minority religious group within the Coured racial group under the Group Areas Act 41 of 1950 (M. Abduragiem Paulsen, 2003).

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One Response to “Self-Empowerment: Transvaal (1870)”

  1. Faradieba Rasdien Snyman said

    Happy I came across this article

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